Hailing all the way from Israel, this week’s guest is graphic designer turned apparel designer Rany Atlan who – along with his wife Liat – have been selling the bizarre and unusual as a fashion statement since last year under the moniker TOTAL LOST.
Rany, whose background also includes motion graphics, 3D and print, decided to found TOTAL LOST after an inspiring visit to a local tee shop and have been mashing up pop culture perversions for the masses to wear ever since. In particular, their (small) line of plush body parts caught my eye a few days back. With eyeballs as big as your skull, how could they not?!
Thanks for joining us, Rany. Tell us a bit about yourself. What got you interested in design?
As long as I remember I had an interest in art. [Even] as a child I had a talent for illustrating, so when it was time to choose a profession for life it was naturally to look for a profession that involved design and creativity. [That’s why] I decided to study communication art.
Since I got my diploma for Graphic Design I started working as an art director in a company that develops interactive games for cable television. A couple of years later I decided to go on my own way and I became a freelance designer.
What’s the story behind Total Lost? How did you get started with it where did the name originate?
Three years ago I was in a cool market place called “T market” – this market only sells t-shirt which have been designed by local graphic designers. That event motivated me to give it a try and design my own line of t-shirts. I decided to look for a unique concept that wasn’t similar to anything I has seen before on a shirt, prints that would make everyone say “What the hell?”
I worked on my t-shirt collection and the following year I participated in the “T market” event and my t-shirts were a big success.
The brand name TOTAL LOST came from the expression “total loss” with a little twist in the last letter. It means total damage that can’t be fixed. It was a suitable name for my crazy prints.
What sort of merchandise do to make?
Right now, me and my wife are working on new collection of crazy and bloody plush dolls and new creepy & weird t-shirt designs. So you should stay tuned…
There are a lot of pop culture references in your work. Is there anything particular that inspires your work? Something that appeals to you about these old school icons?
I love to take pop culture icons and give them a twist, such as a “satanic Marilyn Monroe” or a cool “Gangsta Frankenstein.” I find it very amusing to take something familiar, innocent & iconic and twist it completely for good or for bad.
You mentioned your wife earlier. Do you and her design all of the tees together or are they primarily your creations?
I design all of the t-shirt prints myself. Regarding the plush dolls, me and my wife invent & design them together and she is in charge of the sewing by hand and by machine.
What’s been your most popular design to date?
My most popular t-shirt design, among men & women, is the “little girl holding a deer head.” What’s special about this design, as with most of my prints, is that it takes a second look to understand what the hell is going on. The illustration looks innocent but when you take a second look, you discover that something horrible happened here. People also like our new and unusual plush dolls such as the eye ball, the amputated arm and the headless teddy bear.
Speaking of the plush dolls, where did those come from and will there be more?
Since I was always intrigued with horror and slasher movies, me and my wife (Liat) decided to expand my line of shirts and try to take my crazy prints and interpret them into crazy & bloody plush dolls.
What places do you find to be the best sources of creative inspiration online?
Between my many sources for inspiration there is a blog called Who Killed Bambi? a contemporary art blog that covers visual arts, music, photography, fashion and design. I can also say that there are a lot of horror movies that inspire me as well such as SAW, HOSTEL and all the “bloody” movies out there.
If you could pit any two pop culture icons in a no holds barred “deathmatch” who would they be?
Tough question. I think it would be nice to see the black Michael Jackson from “Billie Jean,” fight tto the death with the white Michael Jackson from “Black or White.” I wonder who will win… one thing is for sure, there will be a lot of face parts flying around. *laughs*
Before we let you go, Rany, what’s the strangest thing you can remember doing as a kid?
The strangest thing I remember about my childhood is that even when I was a little boy I loved to watch horror movies. I was not intimidated or disgusted by them [at all]. I found horror movies to be very amusing and soothing.